Submitted by: Wendy Kragt, Bethel Zeeland
Category: Children’s Ministry
Many of the churches in our area have a traditional VBS program during the summer. We wanted something different. Something for kids of all ages that was not the traditional VBS. Something that would appeal to the unchurched, without the stigma of VBS.
These ideas motivated us to create ‘Great Adventure’. Great Adventure is our summer kids ministry that occurs in our parking lot for kids ages 5 and up. We meet on four consecutive Tuesday nights from 6:30 until 8pm. By meeting on Tuesday nights rather than 4 days in a row, kids do not miss out completely if they are on vacation.
The idea is that Great Adventure gives kids more freedom and choice in the activities they do. When they arrive they sign up for prizes and then they can participate in the activities or games. We have many things set up to do; a craft, street hockey, gaga ball, 4 square in the air, Jenga, Connect Four, corn hole, pickle ball, sidewalk chalk, and a playground. Church volunteers help with crafts and are available to play games with the kids. After 30 to 40 minutes we play Capture The Flag around the church for those who would like to. They love to play Capture The Flag! At 7:45 we gather together on the grass and eat ice cream as we learn about God’s love for us. Rather than using a traditional VBS curriculum, the lessons are written to incorporate something that is popular kids culture. For example, last year Minecraft was used to explain the armor of God, and this year the movie Despicable Me (Minions) was used to teach kids how they are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. The gospel is woven through each lesson. When the lesson is finished prizes are given away. The prizes are things that will remind students of what was expressed in the lesson. By the end of the 4 weeks every child has received a prize.
There are many parents who stay and watch. We have a place for them to sit with drinks available. This was wonderful as it gave us the opportunity to build a relationship with the parents as well as the kids. When they sign in we also get their address. Throughout the year we send postcards to the families to continue building these relationships.